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BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina has asked our experts to shed some light on common questions South Carolinians might have to break the stigma of seeking care for mental health. 

Anyone struggling with mental health should call the number on the back of their insurance card for resources. 

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) affects about 1 in 100 adults in America, or about 2 million to 3 million people. About 1 in 200 children are diagnosed with OCD. It is often diagnosed when the child is between the ages of 8 and 12.

It is a common disorder that can disrupt a person’s life. Dr. April Richardson, psychiatrist and medical director at BlueCross, answers some questions about the disorder.



When people talk about bullying, they often talk about children, schools and the internet. Did you know adults can be bullied, too? Bullying refers to aggressive behaviors that involve a real or perceived power imbalance or deliberate misuse of power in relationships through repeated verbal, physical or social behaviors intended to cause harm, according to Dr. Bryan Fox, Ph. D. and a licensed counselor at BlueCross. In this series, Dr. Fox discusses how parents can protect their children for bullying and its impact on mental health. 

Parental Anxiety 

All parents have worries or fears when it comes to raising healthy, happy children. When do normal parenting worries become something more? These worries become more problematic when it interferes with functioning for the parent or the child, says Ginger DeFrancesch, a licensed professional counselor. In this series, DeFrancesch shares more on how to address parental anxiety and when to seek help. 


The signs of stress can be different for everyone. A few signs to look for include moodiness, self-isolation, insomnia or physical symptoms such as headaches and stomach pain. You may also feel like you are losing control, says Kotina Hutto, a licensed professional counselor with BlueCross. In this series, Hutto offers ways to manage stress and when to seek help. 

Breaking Down Stigma 

Mental health issues are not uncommon. Seeking care for mental health has been viewed negatively. But stigma around mental health care is changing. A BlueCross expert discusses stigma around seeking help and how more people can change the conversation around care.


Men's Mental Health 

Taking care of mental health can impact many aspects of a man’s life. Your mental health controls the health of the rest of your body. It is also an important aspect of your family’s health, says Dr. Brian Still, a psychiatrist. Dr. Still discusses mental health and fatherhood, and why it is important for men to pay attention to their mental wellbeing.

Minority Mental Health

Mental illness can be found in all communities. Cultural differences and health disparities have led marginalized populations to approach coping and treatment for mental health skeptically. Racial minorities are over-represented in homeless and low-socioeconomic populations, foster care and prisons, and all of that contributes to mental illness needs and preferences, says Genice Hall-Fowler, a licensed independent social worker and care manager at BlueCross.  


Grief is the emotion we experience when we have loss. We all experience loss and grief, and it doesn’t happen only when someone dies. Grief is something everyone must work through, says Lucy Henry, a licensed professional counselor. In this series, Henry offers insight on dealing with grief and helping others. 

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder 

Millions of children have been diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The disorder shows up differently for individuals. There are three types of ADHD, says Dr. April Richardson, a psychiatrist and vice president of medical management and COO for Behavioral Health at BlueCross. In this series, Dr. Richardson discusses the difference between ADHD and anxiety and how the disorder is treated. 

News Anxiety

Scrolling through headlines these days can be stressful. Our social feeds can be full of negative media that can significantly impact our mental health. Fortunately, there are ways to cope.

We spoke with Lisa Hardy, an employee assistance professional, on how to recognize and manage anxiety that might be caused by overexposure to negative news and media.


Access to Mental Health Care

It can be difficult to know the difference between everyday stress and when a situation truly requires specialized care for mental health. We spoke with licensed therapist Dr. Bryan Fox on how and when to get started with professional mental health care.

Maternal Mental Health Care

It’s not just new parents who struggle with mental health. Parents of older children can also struggle with anxiety, depression and other mental health issues. Dr. Ashley Blackmon Jones, a board-certified psychiatrist with Prisma Health, spoke with us about resources available for parents who need support. 


Teens and Social Media

Excessive time spent by teens on social media has been linked to poorer mental health outcomes like depression, anxiety and loneliness. Medical Director Dr. Jennifer Heath spoke with us about why teens and young adults are more at risk and what warning signs to look for.

Experts are growing more concerned about a connection between excessive social media use by teens and mental health problems. Heath shares what parents can do to help and how to set health boundaries for balancing online and offline activities.


Senior Mental Health

As we grow older, our health priorities change. Our mental health priorities might shift, but maintaining good mental health is important at any age. We spoke with geriatric psychiatrist Dr. James Bouknight about some of the challenges older people face when it comes to managing their mental health.

Managing our mental health can be a challenge, especially as we grow older. Older people face the same mental health challenges as younger populations, but also deal with issues like dementia. Fortunately, there are resources for seniors struggling with their mental health. We spoke with geriatric psychiatrist Dr. James Bouknight about how seniors can find the mental health care they need.

Substance Abuse 

How do substance abuse and addiction affect mental health? We spoke with Dr. Zach Stroud to help gain a better understanding of how substance abuse disorders can affect mental health. We discuss common signs and systems, and factors that may put some people more at risk. Dr. Stroud is triple-certified in general psychiatry, addiction medicine and adolescent psychiatry. 

What treatment options are available for someone who is struggling with substance abuse disorder and mental health? And when should friends and family get involved to help?


Mental Health and Medical Diagnosis

How does a medical diagnosis affect mental health? Getting a serious medical diagnosis like cancer or diabetes and even minor conditions can affect a person's mental state. In this episode, we discuss the mind and body connection with special guest Dr. Jennifer Pender. Pender is a medical director at BlueCross and has more than 19 years of medical experience. 

Coping with Mental Health After a Medical Diagnosis

A medical diagnosis like cancer or diabetes can affect a person's mental health. Dr. Pender discusses treatment options and what family and friends can do to help their loved ones. 


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